BY Mirudhula Thambiah
Over 2,500 families from Valikamam-North, Jaffna, in the Northern Province, have sought a discussion with President Ranil Wickremesinghe before January 2023, appealing to the President to take necessary steps to release their ancestral lands in Myliddy and Palaly.
Speaking to The Morning yesterday (12), Valikamam-North Resettlement Committee President Arunasalam Gunabalasingham noted that around 3,500 acres of lands under the control of the Security Forces are yet to be released to the public in Myliddy and Palaly.
“We appeal to President Wickremesinghe to provide us with the opportunity to meet him in person to explain our grievances. There are 700 fisherfolk families from Myliddy and around 2,000 families from Palaly to be resettled,” he added.
Gunabalasingham said that around 6,500 acres of land is under the control of the Security Forces since 1990, and that while around 3,500 acres were released during the period of the United National Front-led “good governance” Government, another 3,000 acres are yet to be released to the residents of Myliddy and Palaly. Gunabalasingham also noted that although 3,500 acres of lands are already released, some 500 acres out of it are still utilised by the Security Forces in Kankesanthurai, Keerimalai, Varuthalavilan, and Kattuvan.
“The Myliddy Harbour can be utilised by the fisherfolk for livelihood, and lands in Palaly can be utilised by the families who engage in agriculture, but only if the lands are released for resettlement. We appeal to the relevant authorities to release these lands to us in order to survive, since the economic crisis that has hit the entire country has affected us as well. We believe that we can strengthen our livelihoods if these lands are released,” he added.
He also noted that he had initiated a series of discussions with Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda in this regard.
“We have spoken to Devananda on various occasions, and now we hope to meet President Wickremesinghe along with the Northern Province MPs,” he added.